Engineering Internships: Engineering may be defined as the application of scientific principles to practical purposes. Engineering is a very broad field and there are many areas that you can choose to specialize in. The six main areas of engineering are Civil Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Industrial Engineering; Electrical Engineering; Materials Engineering and Chemical Engineering. There are also many specializations within these areas.
Engineering students may undertake an engineering internship in any of these fields. Internships are temporary positions in the engineering department of a company or organization. They generally last for a few months and are usually completed after the second or third year of study although some companies are happy to take on interns after they have completed their first year. Interns usually work part-time around their studies during the academic year and full-time in the summer. Some companies pay their interns an hourly rate but often internships are unpaid positions. In some cases, the company may provide a stipend for expenses such as transport or food.
Internships are extremely valuable as you get the chance to see how the engineering theories you have studied are applied in real life. You have the opportunity to work on projects and assignments that are important to the company with your own responsibilities assigned to you. You can also gain academic credit for a successful internship. Interns gain valuable hands-on experience through working with professionals. Internships are an excellent way of getting your foot in the door of leading companies and making valuable contacts by proving your abilities. Many companies choose to offer their former interns full-time employment on graduation as their previous experience in the company makes the learning curve considerably shorter.
What does an engineering internship entail?
The duties assigned to you as an intern depends on the area of engineering you are specializing in. The duties of a civil engineer intern may include CAD drafting or specification writing. You may be involved in road or bridge construction inspection and engineering design work such as urban design. Mechanical engineering interns may assist in the design of mechanical systems such as air conditioning, heating or plumbing systems. You may be required to carry out specific project design tasks such as preparing drawings of the systems you design using AutoCAD as well as providing system calculations.
Chemical engineering interns may work in a chemical technology laboratory carrying out analysis. Computer engineering interns may gain experience in software testing, application programming or network technology. Most companies do their best to match your duties as an intern to your areas of interest.
How do I find an engineering internship?
You should distribute your resume with a cover letter to any organization that you would like to work with. Because the number of internships offered by companies may be limited depending on the company’s employment needs, you should start your search early in the school year to increase your chances of obtaining the internship you want. Competition for internships with leading companies can be intense. You should also make sure that you are aware of any deadlines for submission of applications. Sometimes your school will help to place you within the engineering industry. You should check with your campus Career Services office for any internship opportunities that are available.
What skills do you need to win an engineering internship?
If you are invited to attend an interview, ensure that you have thoroughly researched the company. You also need to be prepared to explain why you want an internship with this particular company. You should be able to show that you are passionate about the industry and that you are familiar with the latest industry trends and developments. You will need to have good computer skills and be proficient with the engineering software such as CAD. You will need to show initiative and be able to work independently. However, the ability to work effectively as part of a team is essential.
Below is a list of some of the various types of internships.